Pete Yagi returned from an extended vacation to find an unwelcome surprise on his undeveloped Auburn property – a mound of massive stumps and debris that he says was dumped without authorization.
According to court documents that have been prepared and are scheduled for filing next week, the culprit behind the unauthorized waste dumping is purportedly King County Waste Management. Despite being years overdue and over budget, the $200 million contract for King County’s new waste management facility in Auburn apparently didn’t cover disposal fees.
“It sure wasn’t a guy with a pickup truck who dumped it,” Yagi said about the construction waste on his property. “Some of the stumps and clearing debris are massive. This was obviously a result of the 10-acre land clearing for King County’s new waste disposal facility. Someone was trying to save money on dump fees.”
Yagi, whose property is near the construction site, claimed he politely asked the contractor and the county to clean up the mess but was ignored.
“After weeks of no response, my legal representative received a call,” Yagi said. “But not from the CEO of Lydig Construction, King County’s general contractor. It was from a man named ‘Jeff,’ who claimed to be from Lydig and wanted to convince us it’s not their fault.”
The mysterious caller, identified as Jeff Pietz from Lydig subcontractor KLB Construction, refused to provide his full name or clarify his position. Subsequently, Yagi authorized his attorney to prepare litigation against both King County and Lydig.
“This may be an isolated incident,” Yagi said. “But the central issue here is accountability. How is it that the subcontractor responsible for illegal dumping refuses to identify himself and hides behind the name of the general contractor?”
King County Project Manager Karen Herndon had pledged to work closely with the community to minimize construction impacts. However, Yagi faces fines from the City of Auburn for the debris, with deadlines looming.
“The buck stops with King County,” Yagi said. “Their contracts allow them to hold their contractors responsible for illegal dumping, but they haven’t taken action. Now the taxpayer will foot the bill.”
Yagi likened the situation to a previous legal battle involving Toshiba, emphasizing the escalation of costs and consequences.
“It’s difficult to overlook the irony of illegal waste disposal by the county’s waste disposal department,” Yagi said. “Perhaps it’ll be more amusing when the debris is finally removed.”
“This case is really simple, it’s not rocket science,” he continued. “My property is near the construction site, and there was a muddy set of tire tracks directly from the land clearing operation for the new county transfer station directly to my property. I very politely asked the contractor and the county to clean it up, provided them with sworn notarized statements and notices from code enforcement and they ignored my claim.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Auburn Examiner reached out to Herndon and the county for comment, but they did not respond.
Below are photos showing the waste disposal, as well as King County’s Auburn facility: